Gambling engagement since the COVID Lockdown in U.K.

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The FINANCIAL — The impact of the latest lockdown has been felt by consumers, with significant increases in the proportions of GB adults reporting having more spare time, feeling more bored and feeling more stressed in the first quarter of 2021 compared to the last quarter of 2020.

In the latest period, 50% report an increase in the amount of spare time they have, compared with 44% in quarter 4 2020, while the proportion saying the amount of boredom they have felt has increased has risen from 47% to 54%, and those stating the amount of stress they have felt has increased has risen from 47% to 50%.

The latest three-month survey period also shows 62% of adults reporting spending more time online, 42% saying they have felt lonelier, and 27% saying their household income has declined in the Covid period. One in five also say they have noticed an increase in the amount of marketing by gambling companies in the Covid period, compared to only 7% who think that this has decreased.

While our official participation statistics show that fewer people are gambling in the population overall, the Yonder online tracker data enables us to see whether gambling activity is increasing or decreasing among those who gamble.

Among adults who have gambled in the last 12 months, claimed levels of activity have increased since the start of the pandemic, but also show a further increase in Quarter 1 2021 compared to Quarter 4 2020 which can be attributed, at least in part, to the latest lockdown. In the combined January-March data, 18% of past 12 month gamblers state their gambling has increased since the pandemic began, compared to 13% in the previous combined three-month period. At the same time, the proportion of gamblers saying their activity has decreased fell from 27% in October-December 2020 to 23% in January-March 2021. The increased gambling activity reported in our January-March surveys is particularly evident among males aged under 35 and engaged gamblers (who take part in 3+ activities).

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Has your gambling increased or decreased since the initial Covid lockdown?- the image shows two separate sets of graphs. Both sets are made up of two bar charts. The bar charts are made up of three categories. The first bar charts in both sets shows the increase in net spend. The second graph in both sets shows the decrease in net spend.

The latest research data continues to suggest that young women (aged under 35) are more likely than average to have started gambling since March 2020, where they hadn’t gambled before.  Some 9% of young women who had ever gambled, started doing so during the Covid period, compared to 4% of all gamblers.  As would be expected, online activities have the highest proportion of new players since the pandemic began. 

In similar results to the previous three-month period, most gamblers anticipate their gambling spend remaining the same (72%) or decreasing (22%) over the next three months, and relatively few (4%) anticipate an increase. Nonetheless, when considering the results of this research against the environmental factors brought by the latest lockdown, our view is that risk did increase for consumers.

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